“I will not accept even a single soldier,” South Sudan President Salva Kiir has rejected regional troops deployment to the capital.
Speaking at a press conference in Juba on Thursday, President Kiir vehemently rejected IGAD’s proposal to intervene militarily in South Sudan.
“As to whether… I will accept the intervention forces from anywhere – NO.” Wagging his finger, he said “there are over 12,000 foreign troops here in South Sudan.”
“What do you need more forces for? What will they come and do? The UNMISS here has so many foreign troops. So we will not accept even a single soldier. We will not accept that.”
The IGAD Council of Ministers that held its 56th Extraordinary Summit Monday in Nairobi Kenya, issued a communiqué in which it demanded immediate ceasefire and return of all armed forces and weapons to their barracks.
IGAD Ministers ordered the re-opening of the Juba International Airport which they said would “be protected by UNMISS”.
The communiqué also demanded the urgent revision of the UNMISS mandate to establish an intervention brigade and increase numbers of troops from the region to secure Juba.
The IGAD Council of Ministers stressed the imperative of opening of humanitarian corridors and holding of those responsible for the breakdown of law and order accountable.
The communiqué concluded by a call for immediate implementation of the security arrangements as enshrined in the peace deal.
“We are demanding ceasefire to be effected right now,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom, Ethiopia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and the chairman of a meeting of the council.
Amina Mohammed, Foreign Minister of Kenya said, “The longer we delay decision-making the more the suffering will continue.”
In a communiqué on Tuesday, they demanded, apart from an immediate ceasefire, for urgent revision of the UNMISS’s mandate “to establish an intervention brigade” in Juba.
The communiqué also urged United Nations to “increase the numbers of troops from the region” to secure Juba.
The meeting was attended by foreign ministers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti and Uganda, while South Sudan was represented by its deputy foreign minister, Mariam Ahmed Goumaneh.
They asked for an immediate re-opening of Juba International Airport and for it to be under the protection of UNMISS.
In March this year, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD agreed to deploy a regional force to South Sudan. Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia pledged to contribute to the mission.
The deployment of three battalions from the east African states was approved by the UN Security Council in May a month after the East African states had planned to send the troops.